Badge
until dawn, but the threat to the colony was over. Their Alpha had arrived, and he was taking charge of the young males with a few huffs and growls.
    Lee sat and gripped her slashed ribs. With effort, she calmed her breathing, and by the time she had her body tremors under control, she was staring up into the whitest eyes she had ever seen.

Chapter Two
    “You are injured.” He went from enormous canine to a man in a heartbeat.
    “Yes, one got a lucky swing in.” She winced as he moved her hands away. The smell of blood was heavy in the air.
    “You need medical attention immediately.”
    She laughed, “Not for another five hours. The colony walls are energized and on lockdown. I have a medic kit on my cycle.”
    She grunted as she tried to get to her feet. He gripped her elbows and lifted her. “You should not be moving.”
    Fire was spreading through her body, and it was coming from the open wound. She stumbled to her cycle, removed the kit, cracked a light and stripped her uniform to the waist.
    His hands pushed hers away, and she sat, using the cycle for support as he worked at her wound. “I am afraid that this is a temporary measure. You have been infected.”
    “What?” Fire and dizziness was spreading rapidly.
    “I will explain later. Get on and hang on.” The man was curt. There was no balking. He spoke with complete confidence a moment before she was facing a huge dark beast with wide shoulders and icy white eyes.
    Despite her trepidation, she gripped his fur with one hand and hauled herself upward, straddling his wide barrel of a torso. The second that she was settled, he began to run.
    They passed the younger males returning to the Keymin settlement. As their Alpha sprinted past them, they increased their speed to match him. They didn’t even come close.
    Fifty-percent larger than the younger males, his stride pulled him past them in seconds.
    Lee held tight with both hands, though her left was losing its grip along with all feeling. The wrap on her ribs was holding her together, but the fire inside her was spreading.
    The walled settlement of the Keymin appeared far more rapidly than she had anticipated. A crowd was gathered and hands helped her off the Alpha’s back.
    He shifted and took her from the helpful hands. “We need Dr. Nalura. She was infected by Sakkiel.”
    Spots and grey areas danced in front of her eyes. She couldn’t focus on anything and simply leaned against the chest of the Alpha.
    He carried her through the settlement, and she saw flashes of the buildings when she opened her eyes slightly. The light and sound was too much for her. “What is happening?”
    His voice was soft. “You have been infected, and your body is an unfortunately excellent host. We will try and stop the spread, but we don’t know if it can be done.”
    He settled her on what felt like a standard medical bed. The scent of a clinic was around her. She kept her eyes closed as hands stripped off her uniform and removed the bandage.
    “What is she wearing?” The low voice of the Alpha was curious
    “Underclothing. Probably species specific. Is that the uniform of a badge?” The voice was that of an older female.
    “It is. She is. I have heard that the main colony has a female in charge. I am guessing that this woman is her.” The older female was brusque.
    “That would explain it.”
    “Explain what?”
    “How she was able to turn over half the bachelors back without even raising her fist. I was shocked when they ran past me, but seeing the males that remained with her, it makes perfect sense.”
    The older woman had a grudging respect in her tone when she said, “She turned them back? That does explain a few things.”
    Small stickers were being applied to her skin. The gel on them had a peculiar smell.
    “Hold still, miss. This is going to hurt.”
    Lee nodded and held still as power surged through her body. Screaming seemed like a good idea, but the pain was over before she could do more than draw

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